Friday, 23 January 2009

Swearing In and Just Swearing

After feeling especially spiffing after a cracking Xmas and New Year I was slightly perturbed to find that someone had earmarked £91 on my UK bank account. Only reason I knew was coz the amount in the account was less than what I could access. Only reason I knew THAT is coz I have online banking.

The Boss kindly let me use his phone to talk to some robotic monstrosity in LLoyds Fraud dept who said it was too early to tell who had requested it and I had to wait another day until it showed up on my Statement. Next morning, turned out it was the hire car company I'd loaned a car off on 2nd January.

Driving in central London is a right shitter. It's busy, jammed and filthy and to make matters worse the ex-Mayor of London introduced a Congestion Charge to try and deal with the problem (ie, making people pay to sit in their cars feeling angry for hours on end). It's £8 per day Mon to Fri, 7am to 6.30pm.

I had forgotten to pay the sodding thing and when I rang the car hire place they cheerfully told me that they had received a fine of £60 for the car on 02/01/09 and had paid it for me, then billed my card for the amount plus £27 in admin fees and about four quid in VAT. The cunt I was talking to also offhandedly mentioned that they do it this way "coz we get so many fines a week and it's quicker".

After some perusing of their terms and conditions on the hire agreement I discovered that they don't have any power to do this as section 14a (that the inbred twerp on the other end of the phone kept referring me to), did not give them any right to do anything except forward my details to the issuing agency.

So...guilty of breach of contract and unlawful use of my debit card. The bank have told me to write in and they will then assess the claim and probably refund the money. If the car hire company (Alamo.co.uk if anyone's thinking of renting a motor) get larey I can also point out that they are guilty of Theft as they used the card without my express or even implied permission.

Bureaucracy in Italy has improved somewhat over the years since I was here in the late 90s but still sucks farts out of dead cats.

50cc scooters need a licence plate. This is 'personal issue' and can be switched between mopeds if you are a flash git and own more than one. Only problem is you need residency to apply for the licence plate.

So... last Friday I nipped off to a Circoscrizione near my gaff and after waiting an hour was met by some sour faced old bat who told me that I have to have medical insurance before they can open my claim. She directed me to an office 10 minutes walk away where I queued up again and got some slightly chirpier, middle aged woman who succumbed to my manley charms to the point where she said "I won't charge you to open these" (hopefully meaning the insurance and not her legs) and gave me free care for a year which normally costs 40 Euros.

I went back to the first office and was told that the card to prove I had the insurance would be sent to my old address from 9 years ago in Milan as that’s what they had on their system and couldn’t change it. They said to go to yet another office on Monday morning to change it as this was the only place that had the authority to amend my details. I arrived, waited and hour and a half and some grey faced berk in an old suit said that they had already mailed the card, an hour after I had left the other office last Friday, to the address in Milan. To be fair, even he was surprised that they’d done this and said I now had to either get the card retrieved from the old address (that I last lived in before Italy switched to the Euro and Bill Clinton was still US President) or wait a month and reapply.

Watching the Presidential inauguration was interesting, mainly to see the look of sick jealousy on Dubya’s moronic features as Obama was sworn in. I was watching it on Re 4 on Rome TV which had some annoying little bastard translating simultaneously over the top meaning I couldn’t hear a fucking word Barack was saying. To make matters worse the translation was inaccurate which would have been kind of fitting for Bush’s swearing in but not the mighty BO.

Still, got a repeat later on with subtitles which made him fluffing his lines even funnier. Gotta love any Prez that on his first day in office shuts down Guantanomo Bay.

I read to my utter disgust today that some mental health freak went into a crèche in Belgium and stabbed two babies to death plus a staff member before being detained by police. I just hope they set him on fire for that. Still, if they’re anything like English police you can sympathise with how well they will be obliged to treat this wretch. Anyone officer who thumps a nonce after he’s murdered two kids will find themself bereft of a job and possibly up on criminal charges. While understandable if you don’t know for certain you’ve got your man it’s kind of nonsensical if the bloke was caught like the Belgian, after a long chase that involved helicopters and many cops.

On a brighter note. I got an email from some girl via couchsurfing.com last weekend who needed one extra bloke to help with some ongoing art project her and her boyf are doing. It’s called Birdprayers and is people in beige tops and trousers walking in a line with models of places of worship on their heads.

I didn’t know what to expect and arrived at the Underground station for Colosseum to find some cardboard models of a church, pagoda, synagogue and mosque and me and 3 others chose one each and then marched around getting funny looks of tourists.

The purpose is to show that no religion is more important than any other and she also snapped a few fairly freaky snaps of us leaning on each other’s shoulders like best pals, with fake buildings stuck on our bonses. I managed to scare a dog with mine.





Good fun and I got some cute 22 year old Roman girl’s phone number to boot so can’t be bad.

Have finished my book at last. Just need to edit the bastard. 340 pages, calculating 400 words per page. Needless to say I have many copies of the manuscript, one of which is hidden inside a tub of cod liver oil capsules.

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